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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  February 26, 2013 12:00am-1:00am PST

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tonight, the winners, the losers, and the moments you just had to see to believe. >> what went through my mind when it fell down? ah, a bad word that i can't say.
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that starts with "f." >> michelle obama's hush-hush appearance shocks a jaded hollywood crowd. >> i was asking, was that michelle obama. >> and last night's unexpected star. my exclusive with a man people call oscar. >> and talking about guns and stand your ground. trayvon martin one year later. >> he's dead, laying on the ground. >> just because he's laying on the ground -- >> oh, my god! >> tonight, my exclusive with trayvon's parents, and keeping the faith with rumors and scandals swirling at the vatican, can a new pope revive a church in crisis? this is "piers morgan tonight." >> good evening. you're looking at one of the most iconic spots in this town. the famous hollywood sign. what a weekend it has been in the movie capital of the world,
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los angeles. i can tell you about the experience of being on the red carpet with all of the biggest stars in the world. in showbiz, talking to them as they head into the oscars with panic in their eyes, with hope and expectation. it was one of those great unscripted moments you can never repeat, until next year. the oscar moment everyone was talking about afterwards was michelle obama announcing best picture. it even surprised ben affleck. >> the whole thing kind of overwhelmed me at the time, but in retrospect, you know, the fact it was the first lady who was an enormous honor and the fact that she surrounded herself by service men and women was special, and i thought appropriate. myself, anyway, it was very cool. >> it was really cool. >> i'm a big fan of the bangs, so -- >> we'll talk more about the first lady's controversial appearance in a few moments. we want to bring in nancy o'dell, and crystal smith, editor at vanity fair. nancy, i say tireless.
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you told me you have been up for 36 hours straight without a break. >> this is true. i literally have not gone to bed. >> you still look flawless. >> bless you. i was told you were going to sing happy birthday because it's my birthday. >> you know, i'm so tired from the weekend's festivities. >> i got so sleep so there is no excuse for you. i think he's going to do the by the end of the show. >> i loved the oscars because i thought it was unpredictable. seth macfarlane unpredictable. i woke up to half saying i loved it. the other half, the worst we had. perfect show. >> there was a mixed reaction from our viewers as well. we said people who said they loved seth macfarlane. other people who said they wanted him to be more risque, others who said he was too much that way. i thought he did a great job. he took the ceremony and made fun of a lot of things and did
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it where the oscars are known as being the one that is the stiffest and the most formal. >> and so predictable. the thing about seth i liked, and the thing is if you know seth macfarlane from "family guy," from "ted" the movie, and so on, you know what you're going to get. if you don't know him, i can imagine he's a culture shock. what i liked was he was unpredictable. he did an early song called "show us your boobs" or whatever it was, and everybody is saying, you can't do that at the oscars. he just did it, everyone. >> it was a great thing, and i loved the ending as they paid tribute to the losers. it was something different and unusual, and i remember thinking, i wonder how the academy is going to react, the people who had been nominated, not the academy, obviously. they knew he was going to to that, and everybody seemed to love it. being at the vanity fair party last night, i was talking to the celebrities there. of course, everybody knows there. >> we'll talk to crystal in a moment. it is the party. >> one reason i was out so late.
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>> exactly. >> but they were saying that they really liked him. they hope he comes back for a second time because they really enjoyed it. they got the thumbs up from the celebrities from what i saw. >> what was your most memorable moment of the day? >> i think probably the memory that everybody is going to remember, and that's jennifer lawrence tripping as she goes up. the reason i say that is not because you know this is a big moment in this woman's life and here this happened to her. i think because of her recovery, and it is what makes her so charming, and what you want -- why you want to pull for her. >> let's take a look at the famous jennifer lawrence tumble. we have a clip, i think. >> what went through my mind when i fell down? a bad word that i can't say. that starts with "f." >> that's her talking about her tumble. there's a still picture of the tumble because she nearly had
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her dress ripped off add the globes, so she's on a roll. i had her on the show, and she was chaotic in a delightful way. someone like her comes along not very often in movies. she's really sincere, fun, a smart cookie, and a great actress. >> when she tripped, it wasn't planned, but it only made her more relatable. every girl who sees "hunger games" and loves it, she's like a freight train. people have fallen in love with her every step more and more. at that moment, she was so human. she's in this gorgeous gown and she tripped at the biggest moment in her career. >> then she called them out. she said, you're giving me a standing ovation. i know why, because i tripped and i'm embarrassed. >> it was also a brilliant clip of her being jumped by jack nicholson in an interview, where she's so delightful again, oh, my god, he's jack nicholson.
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i think she's terrific. let's talk anne hathaway. there's another wonderful actress at the top of her game, won an oscar, yet inspiring a type of resentment. why is this? >> i think it's a little unfair. everyone wants to say, the web and twitter, everybody hits up about her being annoying and not liking her speeches. it's so hard. they're on this circuit from the time they're promoting the movie and she's doing speech after speech, dress after dress, and i think at the end of the day, anne hathaway has an oscar. she's supremely talented. she's hollywood's it girl, and whoever is commenting on the web, they're still going to see her movies. >> why are we so bitchy about anne hathaway? >> is funny because i have this conversation all the time. i loved interviewing her and she was very sweet. >> she showed me her naked back. >> the public has this view that i think she's affected.
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she's really not that way, but i think it's the way she does it in a whisper, and the way that she talks. >> you can't expect actresses to be that sincere. i think jennifer lawrence is an exception. >> she's also 22. she's just brand new, anne hathaway has been at this for a decade. they understand this, they understand the ceremony of it. the reason why everyone loves jennifer lawrence is because she is all kind of youth and this giant cult coming at you. >> that's why we pray she won't change. because after a while, they start changing and become more guarded. >> let's turn to the vanity fair party. it was a great moment when ben affleck came in with his oscar and everyone began cheering and clapping. it's an affirmation of success. it's a classic comeback hollywood success story. >> i remember it was 15 years ago maybe or longer when he came in and there was this great shot of him and matt in our party,
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like, yeah, with these fresh faces. for him in that speech, who could top daniel day-lewis? ben affleck. he said when you're down, you have to get up because he's the bennifer, the gigli. he can act, he can direct. it's not about boston. it's about a whole entirely different subject matter. >> and he thanked canada, which was a big moment for me, because i interviewed president jimmy carter last week, who was the president when "argo" the real live story, and he was moaning that the canadians got no credit in the movie and the cia guy who affleck plays only was there in iran for a day and a half, and yet the movie is skewed to the heroic cia, but actually it was mainly the canadians. a side note, thank you, canada. a big moment for the canadians. >> and thanked his wife, and the fact he got teared up. it's a human moment. i was cheering for him, and i think most of more people were
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cheering for him because he didn't get the nomination. >> i think the academy getting that wrong played right into his hands. let's turn to the biggest star of the night. other than oscar, stephen betaglia, the name we did not imagine we would be talking about as the star of the show. he joins me now. what a moment. there i am watching, everyone is watching. seth macfarlane comes up with this fake review of his show, worst i have ever seen, with your name, and then he does it twice more. now you're becoming a legend. what -- where are you and what were you thinking? >> i was trending worldwide on twitter, i was told. >> you were. >> i was at home watching as a viewer. i was looking forward to the broadcast because i wanted to see what seth macfarlane does. sometimes i'll put the oscars on the dvr and start them late so i can go through some of the boring stuff, but i was right there at 8:30 because i wanted to see him. into the show that comes up, and i'm sort of staring at it and watching the routine, and i
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think, that's my name, and then it came up again. i'm at home watching with my wife, and then every single electronic device in the house was buzzing, vibrating, ringing. >> and are you thinking basically you have won a tv version oscar? are you leaping around the room, making acceptance speeches? >> no, not really. but i have to say, you get that sort of rush that you get, and i said, this must be what it's like to be really famous. and it really was almost like a drug-like effect. i felt kind of sad later when it was over, you know. it was very unusual. and i just did not know it was coming. apparently, the academy was going to contact me to ask permission. they never reached me, and it was a tremendous surprise. >> and the reason we're told
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that he may have chosen you is you have been supportive of him, particularly in the "family guy" early years when most critics savaged it, you were right behind him. was there any truth to that? >> i did a cover of seth for "tv guide" in 2005, and i always found him to be an interesting character. he's a maverick who does what he wants. the show is very personal. it's his tastes. he does crude humor, and this traditional show business stuff on it. he loves musical comedies and musicals and he hires real musicians or full orchestras to come to his house so he can sing songs. and i like the show. it's something different. it upsets people a little bit. it's disturbing. you don't have plenty people like that in television anymore. when you find them, you want to write about them. >> i totally agree. crystal, are you a fan of seth macfarlane last night?
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>> i'm a big fan of seth's. i love the way he incorporated the talent in the show. when charlize and channing starting dancing, it was a wonderful moment, the same thing with joseph gordon levitt and -- i forgot his name. >> and daniel ratcliff. how could you forget him? >> i know, it's a lack of sleep. i did find that the opening number, "show me your boobs," i did feel bad for naomi watts and charlize theron. maybe it was too early. >> i enjoyed it very much. that's the whole point of seth macfarlane. >> you like to see people uncomfortable? >> i like a mixture of the cozy stuff you expect at the oscars with a little bit of bite to it. what was great was how they reacted. it was very telling. the one i loved, again, jennifer lawrence. burst out laughing and punched
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the air when he got to her. that's how you have to react, isn't it? >> there was one part where i thought, i don't know if that pushed it too much, but it was after adele performed and he said rex reed was going to come and critique her performance. i think the criticism was meant for rex reed, but it made it come out a little bit as if it was for adele. that was a lilt bit, you know, it bothered me a little bit. >> i will say it's a thankless job. >> the bottom line, unless i'm mistaken, is ratings. and the ratings particularly in the younger demographic, were significantly up on last year. >> you have to -- look, the academy awards is a 3 1/2 hour infomercial for the movie industry. from that standpoint, this show was a tremendous success. they wanted a younger audience and they got it. among men 18 to 34, the show was up 34% from a year ago. overall, 18 to 39-year-olds
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which is what advertisers like to reach, it was up 11%. so they got what they wanted here. and you're going to have to give people the kind of humor that's going to attract that young audience if you're going to deliver it. so i think it was a very big success from that standpoint. >> well, a success for the ratings. success for seth macfarlane, and a big success for you, stephen. many congratulations on your tv critic version of the oscar last night. >> thank you. >> and to you ladies, thank you very much. nancy and crystal will be back -- actually, tomorrow, but we'll talk to the real-life argo hero played by ben affleck. that will be tomorrow night. >> when we come back, hollywood's biggest stars outshown by michelle obama. but has the big moment backfired and tarnished her brand. we'll ask donny deutsch and jody cantor, but what happened on the red carpet when i asked some of the biggest stars to show their loser face.
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>> now you tell me you don't think you're going to win, i want to see your best loser face. >> just normal. like me expecting, like, mm-hmm. that's right. >> let me give you the bad news. you just lost. >> i just lost. no, i'm kidding. can you imagine if i actually did that? >> yes, that's why i got you to do it. what's your loser face? >> what are you going to do if you lose? give me your loser face? >> no, i'm just going to go, what? >> do you practice your loser face just in case the camera pans to you? >> no, that i haven't. >> do you think it's bad luck? >> no, i just didn't think of it, but i'll start right now. >> give me the loser one. >> i have been getting people to give me their best loser face for the moment when it doesn't work out. have you got one?
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>> kind of a glazed smile followed by some kind of protein bar. >> i imagine you're hearing the words right now, and the winner is meryl streep. give me the face? >> then i giggle. >> give me the loser face so i can compare it to the real one. give me the loser face. target is in sight. yes, dad, i see him. now pour some chloroform into a white rag and.... no. hi. i understand you're looking for a hotel with a pool. with priceline express deals, you can save big and get exactly what you need. do i have to bid? use the stun gun. he's giving you lip. no! he's just asking a question. no bidding. awesome. get the grappling hook to... dad, i... no? ok. so if ydead battery,t tire, need a tow or lock your keys in the car, geico's emergency roadside assistance is there 24/7. oh dear, i got a flat tire.
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and now for the moment we have all been waiting for. and the oscar goes to -- "argo." congratulations. >> of course, michelle obama. surprise appearance at the oscars. the first lady is the talk of the town, but some are saying she may have slightly jumped the shark. joining me a man who knows a lot about a brand, donny deutsch. how are you? >> how are you? you looked very suave on the red carpet.
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>> making a little bit of effort. a slash of dolce and a dash of prada. trying to keep up with the joneses. >> who was the most beautiful on the red carpet? the piers morgan choice? >> you know what, i think it was down to me personally, it came down to jennifer lawrence, who really is beautiful in the flesh. had a lovely dress. also, i thought jessica chastain has that kind of '50s, '60s hollywood glamour. she looked really stunning with her red hair and the peach flavored dress. i thought those two to me were, it was like watching a couple of movie stars in the '50s. that's why i liked the look and what they were wearing. so i'm not a great fashion expert, as you know, donny, but since you put me on the spot, they would be my favorites. let's turn to something i'm more comfortable with. politics. michelle obama. she was a very big surprise, no one was expecting it. up comes the first lady to talk
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about the fact that argo has won best picture. should she have been there at all? >> from my vantage point, not at all. as far as i'm concerned, she was an uninvited guest. what i mean by that is if you have the give the consumer, the viewer, the ultimate respect. they have tuned in to watch movie stars, to watch movies, and all of a sudden, politics is thrown at them. obviously, she was very sweet and very kind, but it's not what i signed up for. we see a lot of blurring of politics and news in entertainment, but i get to choose. if i want to watch "jimmy fallon" and she's on, that's okay, but that was an intrusion. i have a feeling 3 out of 4 americans don't want to see the first lady at that point. they want to see jack nicholson. once again, she's the first lady, but that's not a moment we're looking for the president and the first lady. i want more from nicholson. so that's where i think she missed.
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and also on top of that, the tone of it, there was almost a monarch quality. she was sitting there, and it was an elitist flavor to it that i was watching as a viewer and going, huh, and i'm a democrat. i just thought it was very, very, very tone deaf. i was really surprised they did it. >> okay, let's bring in somebody who may or may not agree with you. jodi kantor, columnist for the new york times. donny, pretty furious there. >> no, no. >> fairly furious, no place for the first lady at the oscars. what do you say about that? >> let me fill you in on what the first lady's strategy has been on this kind of thing. she has done this again and again. she popped up on "icarly," on nickelodeon awards for kids. part of what the white house has tried to do is keep her out of politics and insert her into other kinds of media that lots of people watch. that's why she does push-ups on "ellen degeneres," why she did the mom dancing skit on "jimmy
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fallon" the other night. and it's almost like this sort of michelle obama charm offensive strategy. like what they're trying to do is portray this woman who is disconnected from politics because of course the paradox of being first lady is that you are most politically powerful when you appear in some way nonpolitical. >> i completely get the strategy, and i was working on the clinton campaign when he appeared on arsenio. that was the first instance of a politician understanding i can step out of the beltway and talk to consumers. my point is the consumer still has a choice on all of those shows. this was, i'll call, an intrusion, where you're watching nicholson, and first of all, half the country did not vote for her. did not vote for her husband. i think there's a little bit of an entitlement, for lack of a better word. like i said, i love michelle obama. a fantastic first lady. a dynamic, great woman, great mom, but a time and a place. it would be like barack obama,
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when he does the super bowl interview, he does it earlier in the day, and you choose to watch. they don't at the two-minute warning, say now a message from the president. >> i guess what surprised me the most as an observer of this white house was the fact that in the first term, they were so worried about anything that looked too hollywood and too -- >> because they had to run for re-election, of course. >> the president still needs the public's support. he's going to have a really tough time passing his agenda. the thinking back then was during a time of economic suffering, you don't want the president and first lady hobnobbing with movie stars. you don't want anything looking too glamorous. i think re-election has changed. the white house owes a serious debt to hollywood when it comes to fund-raising. >> let me jump in here because i have heard you both talking now. here is my view. i was watching it. i thought it was a great surprise. i thought, wow, doesn't the first lady look great? i love the fact she was announcing the best movie. i didn't give a damn that it seemed a bit of politicing. she was asked to do it. why not?
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why can't the first lady come to the academy awards like that and give us all a bit of light entertainment? why are we getting so exercised about it, donny? >> obviously, she can, piers. my point is i have a feeling if you asked the majority of the country, at that moment, do you want to see more jack nicholson or want the first lady to do it, i have a feeling the majority of people would say, not at that point. >> you say that, but her approval rating is now 73%. the more she's doing this stuff, the more popular she's getting. >> so is laura bush's. the same exact thing as laura bush. she was fairly invisible for lack of a better word. very, very low key. first ladies usually have 20 to 25-point bumps above their husband. to my, all that was great. to me, that was intrusive. at that moment, i'm talking as a viewer and a democrat. huh, and standing there regally with the marines behind her, i don't know. i thought it was --
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>> wasn't standing there regally. she's not a queen. she's standing in the white house with the marines who work in the white house. it's not regal, is it. >> when did you become such a crazy liberal? what's going on here? >> i'm trying to cut the first lady a bit of slack. you can't blame her for having the marines in the back. they're at a party in the white house, the marines are there. >> everybody i talked to, random people, all said, huh? like they love michelle obama. it's not about that. it's a moment. i'm tuning in for entertainment. jack nicholson, the greatest iconic performer of our time, i would have loved to have seen what was coming out of his mouth. i see michelle obama all over the place. >> there's a mystery, which is what michelle obama wants to do with all this. she keeps doing these charming appearances. a lot of people find them endearing and entertaining. she believes that political capital should be spent, according to her aides. is this all about childhood
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obesity and military families. is she going to become a more visible spokesperson for the administration? i believe the power and popularity she's accumulating she wants to spend somehow during the rest of the administration. >> it may be a miracle, jodi. it may have been bigger than that. she may have her own political aspirations. i could see in five, ten years time, michelle obama, if this carries on, might be dipping her own toe into political waters. >> if she ever does that, i will come back on your show and i will physically eat my book one page at a time. >> if the first lady is watching, that is something to bear in mind. let's take a break. take a break. let's take a break, donny. you're not anchoring my show tonight. i know you were last week. >> i was in your dressing room trying on your suits. >> i'm in charge tonight. back off. when we come back, we'll talk about more of the hot stories of
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fortunately, in just four days, congress is poised to allow a series of arbitrary automatic budget cuts to kick in that will slow our economy, eliminate good jobs, and leave a lot of folks who are already pretty thinly stretched scrambling to figure out what to do. >> president obama earlier today, warning about the looming forced budget cuts set to hit on friday. joining me again, donny deutsch and jodi kantor.
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everything since i have been here, we have been headed toward some cliff, some crisis, some turmoil. at the last minute, they do a deal. it's very child-like, it seems to me, in terms of adult politics. what is going to happen this week? are we actually going to fall off again? >> well, you know, the problem with reporting the story is you have experienced, too, is there's a groundhog day quality to it, right? it does seem to follow the same pattern again and again. what we have seen in the past is that there have been last-minute deals, sometimes with hours to go, to avert the worst that does seem to happen. that at the very, very last minute, almost as if we were watching a movie, at the oscars, something happens to postpone the crisis. but then really, we just face the sort of next subsequent round of budget battles, so one of the questions we're keeping our eye on is is the president's second term really turning into a long, depressing series of budget battles.
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the white house so clearly wants to move past this, yet it's not clear they're going to get the chance to. >> yeah, and donny, it is groundhog day, but the victims, of course, are the american people who have to see this constant nonsense going on in washington. no decisions made by anybody, and a war in washington. how do they get the message that america is sick and tired of this kind of behavior? >> i actually don't think americans are victims here. they're coconspirators. nobody wants to sacrifice. i'm not getting on a soap box here, but everybody wants deficit reduction, and everybody wants the debt cut down, yet as long as it's not medicare, as long as it's not medicaid, not defense, as long as it's not me. we're a generation and a populous today that is like new york city no, no, no, don't touch it. politics are reflecting that back.
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we're looking for this magic fairy dust to come from them, where we're the problems. whether it's rich people saying no i'm not paying another 4% in tax, whether it's social security users saying i'm not going to work longer. the politicians are just a reflection. i think we're just as much to blame as the politicians. >> there is a point, jodi, take defense for example, there's quite a good argument to be made that there could be quite draconian cuts in the budget. there has been massive spending since 9/11. the threat is no longer quite what it was then, many would argue. why does america need to have this astronomical ongoing defense budget when you have more pressing things at home to worry about? >> absolutely. one of the reasons you have seen the administration stand behind chuck hagel is because the president nominated him in part because as a war hero, he has the credibility to make some of the really difficult cuts and choices.
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i think there's some truth to what donny is saying is that the only fair and workable solution is one in which everybody is unhappy. that is so contrary to the nature of politics. we have heard the president say in the past, the truth is in the future, everybody is going to have to pay more and get less. he said that a little bit, but it's never been his main message because it is not a winning message, and it will probably never be a winning message for any politician. >> they all say the other side has got to get more, but no politician says, you know what, guys, we're all going to have to put skin in the game, whether you're a hedge fund guy, a minimum wage worker, a democrat, a republican, an nra guy, wherever you are, we're all going into our pockets in some form. and nobody wants to do it. it's okay if it's the other guy. not republican or democrat, this is what is wrong with our generation, frankly. >> we have to leave it there. thank you for bringing your handsome skin to my game tonight, donny, and you, jodi, as well. great to have you.
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coming up next, the shooting that started the national conversation about stand your ground. trayvon martin's parents talk to me exclusively one year after their son's death. target is in sight. yes, dad, i see him. now pour some chloroform into a white rag and.... no. hi. i understand you're looking for a hotel with a pool. with priceline express deals, you can save big and get exactly what you need. do i have to bid? use the stun gun. he's giving you lip. no! he's just asking a question. no bidding. awesome. get the grappling hook to... dad, i... no? ok.
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tomorrow marks one year since the shooting death of trayvon martin, the unnamed 17-year-old killed by george zimmerman in sanford, florida. his death threw the spotlight on the state's stand your ground law, which is heavily backed by the nra. joining me now, his mother, sybrina fulton, his father, tracy martin, and their attorney. it must be a very difficult for you now, a year later. sybrina, how are you planning to commemorate trayvon's life and death tomorrow? >> we're going to attend a candlelight ceremony here in new york. we have already done something in miami. we have done a peace walk to let teenagers know that they have a right to walk in peace. we also did a benefit dinner to help our foundation so that we can try to do some of the things that we need to do so that we can make sure that no other
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parents have to go through what we have gone through in the last year. >> tracy, obviously, when you son was killed, your first thought would have been just devastation at losing a child. as things went on, you and sybrina and your legal counsel, you became these kind of national advocates to many people against gun violence. where do you see the gun debate going in america now? there have been so many things that happened in the last year, from aurora to sandy hook and so on. where do you see it right now? >> from all the senseless gun violence that's been happening since our son's tragic loss, it's -- it's time for america to take a look at our gun laws. do something with the gun laws, take a look at the people that are purchasing guns, people that they are giving gun licenses to
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because it's too much senseless violence, just overwhelming the homes right now. we as parents certainly feel the pain for the children and the parents from sandy hook. the parents of the children that are being killed in chicago. and parents that are dealing with loss all over this country. we certainly empathize with them. >> when this trial begins later in the summer, it will be a huge, i guess, test of the stand your ground law. however either side frames it, that's how people will see this. wayne lapierre from the nra says the only means of security is the second amendment. when the glass breaks in the middle of the night, we have a right to defend ourselves. he was wildly applauded. you know that he said you aren't free if you can't defend yourselves. that was him speaking at an event on saturday night.
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how do you tackle that kind of mentality in light of this debate about stand your ground? >> you try to be very open and honest about them, and ask them, as sybrina and tracy have said so many times, it's not personal until it comes to your doorstep when you lose your child to senseless violence. last year, before trayvon was tragically killed, there were many people who knew little about the stand your ground law until it came out that his killer was not arrested because this stand your ground law, and that's important that we realize what this movement was about. his killer was only part of the symptom of the problem. the problem is that we had the stand your ground law that encouraged vigilante justice. if he would have just waited in the car, trayvon would be living. he wouldn't be facing prison. and, you know, truly, the message is going to be sent
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after this trial, where are we at in equal justice? where are we at with the stand your ground law? because if he's not held accountable, what message does that send to the next child that's killed, unarmed, on the ground? >> a difficult question for you, sybrina, but i want to put it to you anyway. there are obviously going to be huge candlelight vigils all around the country tomorrow, new york, d.c., orlando, and other places. are you ready to let justice take its course, however that turns out? in other words, if at the end of this trial george zimmerman is exonerated of illegally killing your son, would you be prepared to publicly accept that verdict? >> well, that's something that we have always asked for. we have always asked for an arrest. we always asked for just it to come to a trial. we just want to have that trial and let the jury decide, and whatever decision comes out of
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that, we're going to accept that. we may not like it, but we're going to accept it. >> sybrina, again, and to you, tracy, i pass on my very deepest condolences. it's a year after, it seems an extraordinary year in many ways, for what happened in the aftermath of trayvon's death and for gun violence indeed in america. i hope tomorrow is not too unbearable for you, and to you, ben, thank you for joining me. when we come back, scandal at the vatican. two priests debate what it will mean for pope benedict's legacy and for the next pope. [ male announcer ] this is bob,
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made the final prayer, retires on thursday amid scandal. joining me is father albert, priest and author of dilemma and father thomas reece, author of inside the vatican. welcome to you both. let me start with you, father,
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it is a pretty rough time for the catholic church. i speak as a catholic myself, pretty turbulent time, to have a pope stand down after everything else after 600 years without anyone resigning from the post. what did you make of that first of all? >> i think it is interesting, piers, we heard the official statement that says the holy father is sick, the holy father is frail, and some of that definitely is true. he is an older man. i don't believe that that is 100% the reason why he is stepping down. i think many of the things we have been seeing in the church in the last several years and especially coming out of the vatican have a lot to do with why the pope is stepping down, and honestly, we're never going to know 100% the reason. i can't judge the pope. only the pope and god really know why he is stepping down. certainly a lot of the things we're seeing that are published now in the european press and even here in the u.s. are confirming that there is a lot more to the story than just someone elderly and sick.
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>> father thomas, does seem there must be more to this than meets the eye. the pope was perfectly okay yesterday to me and predecessor pope john paul survived two assassination attempts, various cancer scares, crippling arthritis, and you had parkinson's as well. yet he battled on for 27 years. it does seem on the face of it very strange that pope benedict would walk away amid all the scandals being told and in the media of a secret gay network of clergy inside the vatican, the financial mismanagement and the firing of archbishop cardinal keith o'brien of inappropriate behavior towards priests in the '80s. when you put it altogether, where are we left, do you think? >> i take the pope on his word. he is 85 years of age. his health is declining. he knows his health is going to continue to decline. i am not surprised.
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modern medicine can keep us physically alive long after we can do the kind of job that it requires to be, to have the strength, the mental ability to do that kind of job, so it was inevitable that sometime during the 21st century we have a pope resign for a reason like this. now, you know, with regards to all of these scandals and stories that are in the italian press, you have to realize that the italian press is like the blogosphere. sometimes they get it right. often they don't get it right. they don't have the kind of journalistic standards that are recognized and observed in the united states and canada and great britain. they're more -- it is more opera than news reporting. and so i take it all with a grain of salt. if they have facts, let's see them. if they have a report, let's publish it and see it.
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until they do that, i think we have to take what is said in the italian press with a grain of salt. >> let's take a look at the clip from christian amanpour that spoke with a dominican friar and hear what he told her. >> homosexuality is the ticking time bomb in the catholic church. about half if not more than all the people attracted into the priest hood are gay themselves. >> i mean, father, you yourself fell in love after struggling to live as a celibate priest. is celibacy really any longer sensible to enforce upon the priesthood? >> i think it is for those who are called to be monks and to be religious, and i honor and respect the vows that father reece has taken, poverty, chastity, obedience and most of us as secular priests may not be called to lifelong celibacy and the issue of homosexuality, it is horrible to hear they're
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being told their sexuality is disordered while we know that homosexuality is alive and well among many of the clergy so how is it this institution condemns homosexual persons and their sexual expression and allows or cover up homosexuality within their own ranks? that's a big problem. >> father reece, it is a problem. it is a problem almost of changing times. young people in particular have very little problem with the concept of gay marriage, for example. it seems to be a generational debate. is it time for a younger, more progressive thinking pope? is it time they looked to for example condoms in africa and said if you use them to prevent disease and not as contraception, i can live with that. is it time we have a more modern thinking pope for the modern era. >> let me respond to the statement about homosexuals in the clergy.
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of course there are homosexuals in the catholic clergy. to deny it is to deny facts and deny reality. to make the statement that homosexuals cannot observe the promise of celibacy and heterosexuals can't, and homosexuals had not and heterosexuals can't, i think it is slanderous towards the gay community. i think the vast majority of homosexual priests that are in the priesthood observe their vows. they respect their vows. they have been branded as the cause of the sexual abuse crisis and i think it is absolutely slanderous. >> it is a debate will continue to rage as will indeed the nature of the type of pope that we may see coming forward. yes, thank you very much. i am sure we will do this again sometime. thank you. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back after the short break.
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